Escapist Podcast: DRM, Piracy & PC Gaming

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Weak sauce.
They're both just rambling and don't take a real position. Almost sounds like they never thought about these issues before.
This will work better if they put it on paper first and play by the script.

misterprickly:
Yes!
A reason to come to the escapists on Monday!

To bad about Mikes show "Anthony saves the world".
Just proves that Lisa Folis is a Jinx!

She killed her own show and took mike's show with her; BITCH!

Wait what? You got a link to an article about Lisa Foiles?

I noticed she didn't update the past 2 weeks but figured she might just be taking a break like Alison did from EC.

Nice conversation, although I think the title should be changed to: "Random Shit-Oh and DRM, Piracy and a mention of PC Gaming".

My perspective on PC gaming:

There are many advantages of PC gaming:

-Customization of your game experience. Not only in terms of parts for your PC, but also software as well as various gamepads, flight sticks, etc., which are popular and supported in terms of games. This allows for more genre types due to various input devices, from great RTS' to flight games.

-Better graphics and generally better experience on the technical side of things.

-Better gameplay experience with a mouse and keyboard usually.

-Mods.

-Better deals (looking at you steam).

-More variety of games. We can argue to the moon and back about this, but I would be right in the end. On the PC, not only do we get dumb action games, but also smarter, slower games like Arma 2 or Stalker, Risen (360 version doesn't count because it's just BAD).

-Ability to play all games ever released (mostly). A far cry from the little backwards compatibility of consoles.

-Emulators.

-Cheaper than console gaming in the long run. It can be more expensive or the same price, but that depends on how you like to game on PC. If you spend money on the latest hardware every year, then yes, it's going to be more expensive. If you wait for deals and get the most out of your hardware, it will be cheaper. Consoles have renting, but with PC gaming games are cheap and you get to own everything you pay for. If you want to rent, consoles are a better choice, but for the gaming enthusiast who likes to own all his games, PC is more preferrable.

-Best online support, better community (in terms of content and various forms of communication, not necessarilly in terms of maturity, although I would argue that PC gamers are generally more mature), better clan support, etc.

-Better for smaller developers.

-More money per game for developers.

-Insert other advantage here.

Disadvantage:

-Needs tinkering with and involvement. Generally you need to know a bit about computers, which I don't think PC devs handle right. What I would do is have a third party that promotes PC gaming by putting a disc/file in every physical/digital copy that covers all the steps of installing various hardware and what various hardware is. This means explaining what RAM is, what a CPU is, etc, the advantages of building your own rig, so that if one were to ever want to progress further into the more technical aspect of PC gaming and get the most out of it, they would have a great starting point. The PCGA should do this, but sadly, they're useless.

-Needs work on community aspect. Involving modders and having great online support is essential.

Market aspects:

PC games don't sell as well at launch. However, they sell better than consoles in the long run. This is just an aspect of the market. The only disadvantage is that it's not good for churning out sequel after sequel. A successful PC game (built with PC's in mind) will do better than 99% of console games because the demand is great for PC-focused games. So generally, if you make a great PC game, you can be sure that the market will usually respond well and your game will sell great and continue to sell great years after release, as the PC is mostly a very stable market with stable demand (mostly) for hardcore games, but PC users don't rush to buy on day 1, at least not the hardcore ones.

Usually you'll sell around 2-3 million in the first month if you're Blizzard for instance, and sell 10+ million over 5-10 years.

Piracy shows interest for your product. The more successful the game the more piracy (Starcraft), so it usually isn't a problem. Piracy may also indicate issues with your game or its distribution (piracy of Valve games in Russia, for instance).

PC mainstream gaming isn't dying, it's just that the developers that now make multiplatform games are being replaced by smaller and independent developers who are slowly growing in size and so, PC has become the breeding ground for a whole new generation of developers (in comparison to the LAUGHABLE market for smaller developers on consoles) that will supply future multiplatform and big budget games. You may see Frictional Games as the next Resident Evil type developer, while CD Projekt RED and GSC (The Witcher and Stalker) are two examples of developers that have already become very recognizable names in the PC industry.

These are my thoughts and observations.

Extremely Boring, you really need to work on your flow. You sound like you're talking in different rooms with no organization

This was pretty interesting. Oddly enough, given how prone to giving criticism Yahtzee is, he seems really touchy when Mikey brings up anything that could be taken as a shot at him. Then again, he's said many times that he's a bit of a misanthrope.

Mikey and Yahtzee are both interesting commentators in their own right, but I'm not sure they mesh particularly well. I think part of the problem is that they disagreed on a lot of issues, but don't feel comfortable enough with each other to actually argue for fear of offending the other. Maybe you could try pairing Yahtzee up with James from Extracredits? I'd love to hear them talk in real time... Extra Consideration is good, but I always wish I could hear them go back and forth in real-time so things sound less diplomatic and we get to hear them go a bit more in-depth.

Like it. I'm getting into Podcasts a lot at the moment so this is pretty cool.

Also I did watch a good few episodes of Anthony saves the world but it's not for me. I think it might be my overly british sense of humour.

Cool, seems I was right to suggest you do this back in the Extra Consideration debut. It's a little rough for a first episode, because it doesn't work very well to record a speech when some participants don't have their thoughts ready for it (yes Yahtzee I'm talking about you). Thumbs up for Mike though.

So here's a suggestion: do your homework on the topic, think what points you're going to touch and your opinions WITHOUT synchronising anything with the show-companion(s). The less others know the better - the show will sound livelier when nothing is scripted and everyone will have something to say because they researched beforehand. And I think you guys should consider having 3-4 participants discussing instead of 2 so that it wouldn't be so painful to listen when one guy has nothing to say. And Yahtzee, buy a better mic goddammit.

I enjoyed this :) Id enjoy more of these and among many of the staff and contributers :) And a Yahtzee/Moviebob podcast would be good, more of the extra contribution stuff :)

Also I would say that ZP has cost many sales :D I know I myself have not bought 7-8 games based on his reviews(including Dead Space 2)and conversely have bought stuff because he "recommended" them

It was a bit awkward that they each were more interested in criticizing the other's work than in talking about the topics that were suggested to them. Mikey downplayed ZP's importance by saying it has never cost any game a sale (which is very untrue speaking personally. I even also bought games like Just Cause 2 which I ended up loving based largely on what Yahtzee has said about it), and Yahtzee obviously doesn't like Borderlands nearly as much as Mikey wants him to. Mikey seemed to be acting like ZP is just a silly little novelty, but it's a lot more important and effective than that.

For the record, I happened to really like Borderlands.

Mickey makes yet another bad analogy comparing security guards in stores to DRM.

When someone steals something from a store the store cannot sell the product to another customer. The store has lost the money they used to purchase and stock that product.

When someone makes a copy of a game that copy doesn't prevent the original game from being sold. Making a copy of a collection of set of bits doesn't cost anyone anything. The original is still there.

Every dime that is spent on "preventing" piracy is a dime that isn't spent on Q&A or marketing or the developer's beer and hooker fund. And there is no proof whatsoever that any anti-piracy measures earn any revenue. However there is plenty of proof that underhanded anti-piracy tactics hurt the perception of a game, see Titan Quest as a case study.

I'm sure Mickey feels bad when Google searches of his games turn up torrents. But welcome to the 21st century, there is no way to prevent copies of data from finding their way out into the wild. Instead he should make sure that the experience for purchasers is SO good that nobody considers alternatives to making a purchase.

neat!
will there be other people or will it just be Yahtzee and Mikey?
and don't worry Mikey I watch Anthony saves the world!

thenewprince:
Extremely Boring, you really need to work on your flow. You sound like you're talking in different rooms with no organization

Considering Yahtzee is in Australia and Mikey is in America yeah of course they are not in the same room.

Oh god...regarding the Piracy thing, there are several points that you people actually missed and/or barely felt at all, assuming that little to none of you have lived within the walls of a pirate. Have you people even conversed with a pirate without that smearing disgust look in your face??

1. Unless they can live with single player, Pirates lack the ability to access the game's online community. While this may not sound like a issue to singleplayer games, several competitive gamers are quite infuriated by the fact that they cannot gain access to a live account where other legit people hop on...then again, most of those legit people are dicks to begin with. MOST. When they were talking about Borderlands, they unintentionally teabagged the pirates since they were mostly saying that the Multiplayer aspect of said game is much more fun.

The best example for this is later versions of Dawn of War II. The pirated version featured a full campaign and a Skirmish mode BUT it didn't give pirates access to The Last Stand which was actually one of the game's features that would be surprisingly addictive. Why?? Because The Last Stand records a player's progress and also multiplayer Skirmishes reward legit gamers with some graphical upgrades that indicate an achievement that the player would be able to gloat to others.

2. If anyone made a GFWL account offline? Then they won't be able to get those achievements for points BECAUSE of piracy. All that juicy miniature DLC that would make the game fresher than a sack of raw testicles (Like several skins, additional weaponry, bonus scenarios, etc.) would be a waste and something that only the legitimate side can grasp, sure there's a workaround but it's risky to the pirate wherein system files might just be replaced for what?? Risking BSOD just to get that shiny new Elvis outfit??

3. Ben mentioned that a torrent has risk of downloading a virus along with said game, but that's why there's a Comments board where SOME people risk their PCs and when it DOES have a virus, they'll just say so.

4. Some may say Hamachi, but Hamachi is a huge bitch that works. You have to wait for a game to finish just so that the other waiting players can hop onto it. And there are little games that support it as well (And I can assure you, most of what Hamachi can display is merely just say...games from before 2009) so, its almost a complete waste.

With that said, if you want to argue more about pirates?? Live with them first, but I doubt you people would do just that.

Excellent, though I hope we get an even more varied cast in the future. Is this going to be available as just an actual downloadable/streaming audio file though? (or is it already available and I'm just missing it?)

2 great persons for this! Just needs to be longer considering how it's a podcast. It shouldn't be that hard or time consuming.

I enjoyed this, though I would have preferred it if it was longer, maybe 30 minutes long. I get the feeling it will improve the more comfortable the two of them get discussing topics in this setup.

I loved the show! it however was to short, and failed at being a podcast on the most basic level, I couldn't listen to it on my ipod or other random portable media device. Fix this now, or change the name to guys sitting chatting in front of a tape recorder without the ability to use a camera, or something similar.

Excellent Podcast. Definitely interesting perspectives.

A message for Mikey about DRM -
I'm your target audience. Mid 30's, married, no kids. Tons of disposable income. I buy all my music, movies and games, but I will not buy a game with intrusive DRM like AC2. In fact, I swore off Ubisoft as a whole over it. Loved Borderlands, interested in Duke Nukem. Won't buy it if you come anywhere near this with your software. Consider that a promise and not of the "Modern Warfare 2 boycott" variety.

I appreciate the point you make about stores with metal detectors, mall security guards, and the dude at Best Buy searching your bag, but the difference you are missing is intrusiveness and timeliness. The mall security guard isn't intrusive (just fat and busy ogling preteen girls), and the metal detectors don't tell me how to wear my new spiffy shirt once I get home. It only prevents me from walking out of the store with it (which it really doesn't do if you think about it). The best buy dude doesn't frisk you and turn your wife's purse upside down, he looks in the bright yellow bag. Get out the door, and the product is yours to do whatever you want with it.

What it comes down for me is that the pirates get a more useful version of the game than the paying customers do. Think about AC2 on the PC. Paying customers can't play it when their internet is down. Or when your servers are down. Or when I'm on a plane. The pirates can. I'm not sure what moron thought that was a good idea, but the fact that it went all the way up the management chain and then through design, development and release without anybody raising their hand and saying this may not be a great idea tells me that Ubi isn't an organization that values its customers.

I understand organizations like yours' desire to protect their investment, but you must balance it with giving your customers the capability to use your product as they want. Give your customers an easy, legitimate means to consume your IP and the vast majority will - that is the lesson of iTunes. The rest weren't going to buy your product in the first place. Make your customers happy that they purchased your product. Don't force them to enter twenty 15 digit codes and download 6 files before they can play your game.

The lesson that the movie and video game industries must learn is that modern consumers have a near infinite number of ways to spend their entertainment cash. Adding barriers that prevent the customer from enjoying their purchases only encourages them to find other ways to spend their money.

Sorry for the rant. Just got lit by that comment. Probably TLDR, but /shrug.

Great new feature. I'll be back next week!

BTW, I've had legal purchases (Games or DLC) blocked by DRM four times since I got a Vista machine. Support failed to get the game to run on all of these occasions. I later got pirate versions to run for all four titles.

The game industry has crossed over the line. They are punishing legal owners of their products and not impacting piracy. DRM will never be more than a bike lock. It will stop casual thieves, but anyone with the right tools will be able to get through it.

Also...

I do not buy a title unless I can demo it first. I have an integrated chip set, so it's a total crap shoot for me whether or not a game will run.

I'm mentioning this because I have often used pirate versions as demos.

If the publisher doesn't offer a demo I just use a pirate version. If it runs I'll purchase it. I realize this puts me in the minority, but I am one gamer where piracy actually drives sales.

Finally a point on value.

The industry mantra of a "pirated game equals a lost sale" is ludicrous. This is the justification given by most publishers for aggressive DRM.

While for the most part I agree with the sentiment that "I can't afford it" is a poor excuse for IP theft, I live in the US where $60 is basically a tank of gas. There are parts of the world where even the mark down price of $20 is a week's pay. These are areas where "retail" pirates thrive. These retail pirates are by far the largest piracy operations, but the contention that they are costing game developers sales is ridiculous. If you're a worker in a third world country you'll never be able to afford a legal retail copy of even an older game.

Wolcik:
It'd be nice to explain the concept of what you're taking appart. What's this DRM?

As for PC Gaming - it gets to the point where buying newer and better computer isn't really worth it unless you work on it as a graphic or something like that. PC should stay as more of a work tool, with few things to fuck around in the mean time (but we have facebook for that now) and leave games for specified medium that they made for - consoles and eventually something better ;)

Overally I liked it ;)

DRM is digital rights management, basically copy protection, ranging from simple serial keys to more crappy stuff like SecuROM

anyways this was pretty cool, hope to see more of it :)

I really liked that.

I just wish I could have been part of the conversation.

Wow Yahtzee can speak normally :))) The pod felt kind of awkward, not much chemistry between them both, I don't think they even know each other. Also felt sort of like an ad for Anthony save the world. Anyway I hope next one's better :)

Likey, but i think it needs more than two people. get the lads from unskippable or something haha

Conversation was awkward. I got a strange vibe from it.

It seemed like they were disagreeing on many issues passive aggressively. I sensed a lot of tension, but no one really came out and spilled the beans.

The point isn't that they're treating customers like POTENTIAL thieves, it's that they're punishing people as though they were pirates. That's the problem with Ubisoft's DRM scheme. It was detrimental to proper customers, and the worst part was that the actual pirates find ways around the DRM. Meaning they could play it offline, without an internet connection. In a specific example, take Assassin's Creed 2. Now, I didn't pirate it, I bought it. And thankfully, I had a stable internet connection. But even then I had instances where my net failed for JUST long enough to kick me out of the game and I lost a fair chunk of progress. And after the second or third time that happened to me, I began to honestly consider getting a pirated copy of it, so that I didn't have to put up with the DRM, even though I had a legitimate copy.

The proper way to do DRM, in my opinion, is the stuff that only punishes pirates. For example, the Batman: Arkham Asylum DRM that plenty of people loved, where you got a gimped Batman that couldn't even jump if you pirated. It's not the only instance of a game putting that in, but it's the most well known that I can think of. Legitimate customers are able to enjoy the game without any problems, and the pirates were penalized.

Man, I just won't grow tired of Yahtzee. Dunno why, I feel uncomfortable as a fanboy.
Maybe you could repeat this constellation, I could feel more interesting conflict in opinion than in Extra Consideration, which could've made for a more interesting discussion. But I also felt like you two were holding back so you're not too mean to the other guy. We know it's a show, guys, you're not really ripping the other's head off.

Suggested topic:
After the End: Sequels, Expansions, DLCs and Microtransactions.
That's a broad topic, so my main interest are the last two points since they're recent developments, focus on that, move to the other topics when it's appropriate or the episode needs padding. I'm suggesting it because I expect a few community responses after Portal 2's release.
There's this interesting picture floating around the internet. I think it's already food for thought and debate on its own, but in case you need to get into the mood or topic a bit more:




Questions that could make for conflicting opinions to keep the talk fluid:

C&C renegade was a fucken awesome game, it had some of the best multiplayer around

Mikey, I watch and enjoy your show man!

Also I enjoy this podcast and would love to have it appear on itunes or some sort of download thing because I'd toss them on my ipod. Same with Miracle of Sound's songs, but those are coming anyway so I don't really need to make this comment.

Yahtzee being called for taking jabs, haha. That's just amusing to hear. And while I can't say he led me to not buy a game I had no intention of buying anyway, he has led me to buy several games I had no interest in beforehand. Just Cause 2, Prototype, and Infamous come immediately to mind. I bought Saints Row 2 and Prototype with my PS3 for how much fun he discussed having in them, and since I figured I would enjoy some of the activities he pronounced as fun, I bought them to check them out. I had little interest in either before hand, and love them now. So, I could easily see him having a small-to-mild effect on sales of certain games, especially given that most people don't buy a game on day 1, but a fair bit of time later.

My opinion on the podcast:

Get a moderator. Not that moderation is needed, but someone to ask the questions and keep the talk flowing. There were a lot of moments of silence, and "yeah..." responses. I'd like to see more of this, specially with Mikey and Yahtzee, but this was pretty bad...

Interesting premise, but you'll need more people to make it more interesting.

For example, Shamus Young has some pretty strong opinions on all these things, it would have been great to have him here discussing that stuff.

EDIT: Some examples.

Not to mention all his rants on this stuff on his blog, and the fact that he's a PC gamer. He'd be perfect for these topics! Yahtzee seem's more or less apathetic about it all, while Mikey is an employee of a developer. There wasn't much debate, just both saying stuff and agreeing.

Wow. Awwwwwkward.
I just felt uncomfortable all the way through that. Dunno if it was just me, but there seemed to be a lot of tension between these two... I definitely cringed at one or two of the comments made.

Also, I 100% agree with this post:

Belladonnah:
My opinion on the podcast:

Get a moderator. Not that moderation is needed, but someone to ask the questions and keep the talk flowing. There were a lot of moments of silence, and "yeah..." responses. I'd like to see more of this, specially with Mikey and Yahtzee, but this was pretty bad...

unacomn:
Did someone call me?

C&C Renegade did a lot of things frighteningly right. It was a superb first person perspective of a RTS legend. And the mutliplayer was ages beyond it's competition.

I too enjoyed Renegade. I'll admit it. Was it perfect? No.
Was it better then a lot of stuff at the time? Hell yes.

Wait, how is this a podcast if you can't download it? (You know, for like an iPod - or any portable device).

Seemed ok, would be nice to see a round table going on with Escapist and other relevant personalities.

Can we get an RSS audio only please ;)

I like listening to Podcasts while at work. (Australian Gamer podcast gets me through a nightshift with my sanity intact)

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